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Author Topic: Sound absorption on the cheap  (Read 11828 times)

Brad Ferguson

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Sound absorption on the cheap
« on: December 06, 2008, 08:41:34 pm »

So, my friend, the club owner, has asked me to source out material to deaden down his stage at his club.

It's a very low drywall ceiling, and has glass windows on the upstage wall.

He doesn't care if he covers the windows.

I suggested to make some 2' wide by whatever deep panels, and connect them to the ceiling, and to mount on the upstage wall.

He said "GREAT! Can you source out everything for me?"

Of course I said yes.

So, now I'm looking for suggestions as to what type of foam, or material I should think about using for this - he doesn't want to spend too much money, of course.

Any ideas/suggestions would be appreciated!
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Brad Ferguson
Toronto, Ontario

Adam Whetham

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Re: Sound absorption on the cheap
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2008, 08:45:36 pm »

The only two options I recommend to people anymore is:

A: Flame Retardant treated Drape.

B: A professional solution from Auralux or Acoustical Solutions or someone like that.

Anything else just rings Station fire.
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Dick Rees

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Re: Sound absorption on the cheap
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2008, 08:46:14 pm »

http://www.auralex.com/

On the cheap may be flammable and/or uninsurable.  Don't touch anything like this unless you can afford to hand everything you own over to the lawyers.  Get a licensed, bonded contractor.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Sound absorption on the cheap
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2008, 08:52:12 pm »

The cheapest stuff I would recommend is a DIY project using Duct Board (compressed fiberglass used in the HVAC industry) and covering with a FLAME RETARDANT fabric.

Be forewarned the fabric will probably cost more than the fiberglass material Shocked .

Try to use 2" thick.  This is not as good as 6lb "acoustical" fiberglass, but is available locally and will be less expensive.

WHATEVER YOU DO, use ONLY products that will not burn!!!!!! Or you could be held liable in the event of a fire.
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Rick Powell

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Re: Sound absorption on the cheap
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2008, 09:08:03 pm »

Forget Auralex or other foam based products.  They are highly flammable without treatment and deaden high frequencies without attenuating bass, creating dull and yukky sound.  Foam can be used effectively, but not without a lot of good planning and extra expense to counteract what the foam does to the sound.  The best day in my recording studio was when I ripped all the Auralex down.

If you are looking CHEAP and effective, order raw Knauf or Owens Corning 2' x 4' fiberglass panels from ATS Acoustics in Piper City, IL, and cover them in their flame-retardent burlap.  The greater the thickness, the greater the bass absorption.  They come in 1", 2" and 4" thicknesses, and also offer rock wool which is a little tougher to work with.  ATS will make the panels for you, but you can DIY cheaper.

http://www.atsacoustics.com/cat--DIY-Acoustic-Materials--102 .html
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Rick Powell
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Dick Rees

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Re: Sound absorption on the cheap
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2008, 09:14:21 pm »

Rick Powell wrote on Sat, 06 December 2008 20:08

Forget Auralex or other foam based products.  They are highly flammable without treatment .....


http://www.auralex.com/auralex_acoustics_faqs/fire_retardanc y_faqs.asp

I think you should check this out a little further.

Your experience seems to be limited to only one of their products.  They do indeed make bass reduction systems.  Look at their whole line.  It will give you some good ideas if nothing else.
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Randy Pence

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Re: Sound absorption on the cheap
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2008, 10:13:46 pm »

Wrap rockwool or owens corning 703 with fire resistant treated fabric, as Ivan suggested.
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(Brian) Frost

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Re: Sound absorption on the cheap
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2008, 01:50:49 am »

rockwool or 703 will work well, but you will have to build a lot of them.  If you have a lot of area to cover, heavy duvatine is also an option.  Its generally found in large pieces, should always be fire retardant, and has both a shinier and a matte side.  Makes for nice reasonably priced curtains.  Only helps with the high end but can help a large live area quite a bit.  
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Frost

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Josh Billings

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Re: Sound absorption on the cheap
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2008, 07:17:47 am »

Great suggestions on here, i don't think i need to add too much more.

Be sure to locate some behind the speakers as well and band to minimize the reflections.

-Josh Billings
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Brad Weber

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Re: Sound absorption on the cheap
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2008, 08:24:48 am »

Dick Rees wrote on Sat, 06 December 2008 21:14

Rick Powell wrote on Sat, 06 December 2008 20:08

Forget Auralex or other foam based products.  They are highly flammable without treatment .....


 http://www.auralex.com/auralex_acoustics_faqs/fire_retardanc y_faqs.asp

I think you should check this out a little further.

Your experience seems to be limited to only one of their products.  They do indeed make bass reduction systems.  Look at their whole line.  It will give you some good ideas if nothing else.

I think the point is simply that some of the available acoustical products are not appropriate for public venues and you need to be careful to select the proper products, some products intended for studio or home theater use may not be appropriate in public venues.

I'd also add Kinetics Noise Control (http://www.kineticsnoise.com/interiors/) or Tectum (http://www.tectum.com/) as options for panels, baffles, etc. and K-13 (http://www.internationalcellulose.com/home/products/k-13/) as an option for the ceiling.  The spray-on ceiling treatments are often fairly cost effective compared to baffles.

Not knowing the club, you may need to consider factors such as durability, ease of replacement, washability and even appropriateness for food prep or eating areas in looking at finishes and materials.
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Brad Weber
muse Audio Video
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